Chickens in the Winter Garden

It’s a wet blustery day here in Seattle–a good day for braised kale and quinoa with tahini sauce, or a nice plate of kale chips fresh from the oven.  Kale is one of a few veggies that can overwinter in Seattle without a cold frame or garden cloth tunnel (we can also grow broccoli and some root vegetables). Carrots and kale are made sweeter by a release of sucrose after our mild frosts.  Fortunately, we have a nice kale crop flourishing in our winter garden this year.


Don’t we?  Winter is also the season I give the chickens free range in the backyard, since there isn’t much in the garden for them to ruin.  Our current group of chickens never seemed to like kale (which is odd, because chickens eat almost anything–my daughter took this as evidence that she herself should not have to eat kale:  if even chickens won’t eat it, surely it is indigestible, and no animal should be eating it, including teenage humans).  But for some reason these bad little hens had a sudden change of heart.  Maybe they found out about the sweet sucrose. I only know that when I went out to gather my feast, all I found was Ophelia the Buff Orpington among the bare dinosaur kale branches.  I guess it’s market veggies for me today.  And time to start dreaming in earnest of the spring garden…


  1. It’s weird, isn’t it. My chickens can be as good as gold for ages and lull me into a false sense of security, and next thing you know they’ve unearthed all the leek seedlings or eaten the flowers off the nasturtiums or stripped the fruit bushes. French poules can clearly be as naughty as American chickens.

  2. Yes, funny, aren’t they, a bit like people, waiting for the apples to ripen before they eat them. Sorry, I’m sure you have answered this a million times, but I wondered if there is a way to see your charming chicken house plan pictures on Flickr? Flickr won’t let me in, says I don’t have permission. Very sad about it.

    1. lyanda

      Thanks for all the requests for Flickr pictures–we’re happy there’s so much interest. Let me talk to the Flickr Master (hubby) and see what’s up.

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